Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

Samuel E. Kelly Distinguished Faculty Lecture

Samuel E. Kelly Lecture

2015 Lecture – “Tourist to Traveler: The Transforming Experience of Study Abroad”

Date: Thursday, April 16
Reception: 5-6 p.m. / Alder Hall Commons
Lecture: 6-7 p.m. / Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center (please note location change)
Cost: FREE but advance registration is requested. Please RSVP to or 206-685-9594.

Featuring Professor Shawn Wong

Shawn Wong

Shawn Wong will present the 2015 Samuel E. Kelly Distinguished Faculty Lecture. Wong is a professor in the Department of English at the University of Washington, where he served as chair from 1997-2002. He also was the director of the Creative Writing Program from 1995-1997 and the University Honors Program from 2003-2006. His areas of specialization are in creative writing and Asian American studies.

Shawn Wong’s second novel, American Knees, was made into a movie titled “Americanese” and released in 2013. His first novel, Homebase, won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and Governor’s Writers Day Award of Washington. Both novels have been reissued by the University of Washington Press. He is also the co-editor and editor of six Asian American and American multicultural literary anthologies including the pioneering anthology Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian American Writers. Wong was featured in the Bill Moyers documentary, Becoming American:  The Chinese Experience. His writing has won numerous awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fiction Fellowship.

Wong received his undergraduate degree in English at the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree in creative writing at San Francisco State University. He has taught at several colleges and universities since 1972, including Mills College, University of California at Santa Cruz and San Francisco State. In addition, Wong has taught at the Universität Tübingen (Germany), Jean Moulin Université (Lyon) and at the UW Rome Center in Italy. He has led numerous UW study abroad courses and will travel with the UW Men’s Basketball team to Shanghai to combine academics with sports this fall.

Lecture Topic

“Tourist to Traveler: The Transforming Experience of Study Abroad”
What can a student learn about being a global citizen when, at home, that definition of ‘citizen’ is debated, questioned, and judged continuously in the media? Why is it necessary and relevant for a student to travel to find answers to this question? Professor Shawn Wong has designed and led numerous UW study abroad classes to Rome, Berlin and Istanbul over the last 18 years to find answers to these questions for himself and his students. How does standing in the middle of the Sistine Chapel in Rome speak to your life as a Buddhist or a Muslim? How do the immigration issues in another country relate to what you know to be true at home in America? How do you form your identity in a country that doesn’t speak your language? What are the visual and tangible manifestations of globalization when you are away from home? Professor Wong is leading this year’s annual Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity trip to Rome in March. The focus of his classes is on travel writing and training a student’s eye and ear to not only record images and memories, but also to take that raw experience and transform it from what they know to what they learned.

About the Lecture Series

Dr. Samuel E. Kelly

Dr. Samuel E. Kelly

Named in honor of the University of Washington’s first vice president for the Office of Minority Affairs (1970), the annual Samuel E. Kelly Distinguished Faculty Lecture is dedicated to acknowledging the work of distinguished faculty by spotlighting nationally recognized research focusing on diversity and social justice. Understanding differences takes place where there are opportunities to learn and become more informed about other people’s viewpoints, historical perspectives, life experiences, cultures, customs and contributions. Educational institutions have an opportunity and responsibility through teaching and research to promote awareness of diversity and its importance within a campus community and society.

The University of Washington is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodations in its services, programs, activities, education, and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodations for this event, contact the Disability Services Office at least 10 days in advance at: 206-543-6450/V, 206-543-6452/TTY, 206-685-7264 (Fax), or email at